Manitoba

Life-sized sculpture of enormous, ancient turtle to be unveiled in Morden, Man.

Morden, Man., has a new resident in the form of an ancient, 4½-metre-wide turtle.

4½-metre-wide turtle to be officially unveiled Friday at west end of city

A gigantic statue of an archelon turtle will be officially unveiled on Friday in Morden, Man. (Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre)

Morden, Man., is getting a new resident in the form of an ancient, 4½-metre-wide turtle.

"It just dwarfs you," said Peter Cantelon, executive director of the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre in Morden.

This Friday, the centre will officially unveil a life-sized, made-in-Manitoba sculpture of an archelon turtle, the largest turtle that ever lived. Around 80 million years ago, archelon turtles swam in the cretaceous seas that covered Manitoba and North America.

"We actually have some fossils of it here at the museum itself," Cantelon said.
The sculpture sits at the west side of the city. (Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre)

The turtle doesn't have a name yet, but Cantelon hopes to fix that with a public naming contest.

People who are interested can email their ideas to the museum throughout September and the top five or 10 ideas will be listed on the city's website so people can vote for their pick.

"We've had some suggestions already — Archie, Rosie. We've had some of the more obvious ones: Shelly and Sheldon have all came in," Cantelon said. "We could create a fifth Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle name based off some Renaissance Italian artist."

Construction of the unnamed specimen took three months and was led by Morden resident Adolfo Cuetara. Cuetara moved to the city two years ago following a career making dinosaur statues in Spain, Cantelon said.

"It's a match made in heaven," he said.

It's the second giant turtle statue in Manitoba. Boissevain, Man., became home to Tommy, a 10,000-pound, 8½-metre-tall turtle, in 1974. 

Morden is already home to Bruce the mosasaur, a 15-metre-long sculpture of the ancient marine reptile that would shared the waters with archelon turtles. The museum introduced Bruce last summer.

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